PAWSitive Project Engagement Blog

Posted by Deanna Schuler on Friday, Jun 15th, 2012.


Wow! I have such mixed feelings about today being the last day of class. I will be happy for my summer to actually begin, however I was really enjoying the learning and collaboration that was part of class. I am so happy that I was able to see Marifer present her lesson. I think learning Spanish in her class would be a blast! When we read about the cactus, I remembered a book I read to my students (Domitila: A Mexican Cinderella). I think next time I get ready to use that book in class I will have Marifer read to my students! I enjoyed seeing Lee and Elizabeth present because I could relate to their lessons more because they are also in elementary! I enjoyed Mike's lesson because it made me think about my IEP students. Even though HS is far off for my students, I appreciate knowing what is coming for them.

I talked so much today! In addition to my Final Project I also had to present my DESE PBL assignment, along with my Puppet Pals and iMovie. I am not sure if I really presented the PBL according to the scoring guide... I got so wrapped up in sharing my other two assignments. I am not sure how Tracy, Lee, and Elizabeth felt but I really had a hard time planning a 45 minute lesson. I am not used to talking for 45 minutes. I teach in chunks with plenty of breaks. I also have become accustomed to bringing my students to the carpet in front of my SMART board. I felt very disconnected from my "students". I was really struggling during the presentation because I found myself speaking too quickly thanks to my nerves. I LOVE teaching my students but presenting a lesson in front of adults is a little nerve wracking! I hope that I didn't push the WBT stuff too much... but that is how I teach. Some of the WBT was a little rushed because I didn't want to go over my time.

Assignment due Today: Final Presentation

I really struggled coming up with my lesson topic. I finally settled on the first day activities because I sat and thought ... what will I need first. Well... First Day Jitters was my obvious choice. I am glad that I presented this lesson because I already know what I need to change to make it work for my students!

Posted by Deanna Schuler on Friday, Jun 15th, 2012.


I was so happy to make it back to Warrensburg in time to see two lesson presentations today! Tiffany and Angie did a really great job of making their presentations engaging. I really learned something about air pollution. Angie did a great job of talking about classification. I teach classification with my third graders. I enjoyed seeing a different approach. My nerves have been so high in regards to my lesson and seeing Tiffany and Angie present helped calm me a little.

Most of my drive from the Lake back to Warrensburg was spent digesting what I heard at the lake and trying to fit it into what I need to do for the new school year. I truly beleive that would have felt overwhelmed during all this reflecting if I didn't have the knowledge I had already gained from this project engagement class. I really hope more people from Sterling take advantage of this class next year.

Assignments Due Today:

Posted by Deanna Schuler on Wednesday, Jun 13th, 2012.


Today at Leadership Academy I had the opportunity to hear Peg Portscheller speak. She is an educational consultant with many years of experience in schools, from teacher to superintendent. Peg's topic was "Making Sense of it All: Leading Change in a Standards Based World" Her talk could not have been more relevant to me! I wish you all could have heard her. She talked repeatedly about Problem Based Learning and using technology to engage students in relevant lessons. Her definition of engagement is simple: Minds On. She mentioned how just one iPad in the classroom can make a world of difference. About 30 minutes into her presentation I half expected her to pull our class up in a skype session! Peg talked about how kids need an opportunity to generate ideas. She also shared many statistics with us however one really stood out for me. At age 30, we use 5% of the creativity we used at age 5. One of her reflection questions was, "How can shifting technologies advance teaching and learning?" I think we have come so far in finding an answer to this question in our class. When we all signed up for this Project Engagement course we of course realized that we would gain great information. I for one have been overwhelmed (in a good way) with all that is now possible for my students.

Assignment Due Today:


Posted by Deanna Schuler on Saturday, Jun 9th, 2012.


I missed everyone today! I enjoyed my drive to Lake of the Ozarks for Leadership Academy. I learned the results of the Kolbe A Index today. I am VERY clearly a FACT FINDER. (The other options were: Follow Thru, Quick Start, and Implementor.) Out of ten points possible I earned 7 points in the Fact Finder category. Here is a funny part of the results:

"Deanna, you've probably been asked your whole life: Why do you seem to say "Yes" to just about everything -- even when you're completely overloaded?

I found that highly relevant!

Sounds like you had fun with puppet pals! I have been playing with it and think I have it figured out! I also watched a couple of you tube "how to" videos. I also got inspiration from your blogs! I found some pictures saved on my lap top of my classroom and students. I saved the pictures to dropbox. Then I opened dropbox on my iPad and then saved the pictures to my photo roll! WATCH OUT world! I can't WAIT to show you my show! I will probably have my fellow Leadership Academy participants watch it! I would like to see your presentations! Be sure to show them to me when we have breaks on Friday! :)

Assignments Due Today:

PBL Lesson: (See attachment) My PBL was in answer to a very REAL problem. Students are not fluent in multiplication facts. I will have Ms. Reynolds or Mrs. Duvall talk to my class about this problem. One of them will ask my students to create a product that will help other students learn a specific set of multiplication facts.

Puppet Pals lesson: My show uses pictures of PPT slides as background images and former students and myself as characters. My former students teach the classroom rules in this presentation.



Posted by Deanna Schuler on Saturday, Jun 9th, 2012.


Today was such a productive day. We started with the wireless keyboard activities. As with all other sharing times I walked away with more great ideas! Even the time we had to work on our list of apps and lessons was a great collaborative time. I crave this type of opportunity! I love learning and sharing what I have learned with people. This is the ideal environment for learning and sharing. I am truly blessed to be part of this class of educators!

I really loved the process that we used to helped each other today. To have an opportunity to just talk out loud about a problem was AMAZING. I have often found that just by talking out loud I can find a solution to a problem. I don't know how many times I have gone to someone for advice/help and half way through talking with them found my answer. What a true collaborative experience.

In helping Joanie think of her "Meet the Problem" we were able to find a way to help each other out. I don't want to steal her thunder and talk about it here... but I can't wait to work with her this coming school year! I LOVE having guest speakers in the classroom. The students see whoever comes in as the expert. I look forward to the opportunity to bring high school students together with my 3rd graders as scientists!

I am going to miss being in class the next three days. For those of you reading this blog be sure to include in YOUR blog the most helpful bits of information you gain on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I will be learning on my own from online tutorials and will miss the collaborative environment of the class.

Assignments Due Today:

Apps List - I have created a list of iPad apps for the classroom on a blog page to allow for discussion of the apps and suggestions for more!

iPad Lesson Summaries: Attached below

Wireless Keyboard Activities

Wireless Keyboard Mini-Lesson: Introduce the Genius Ladder as a strategy from Whole Brain Teaching. Take them through the first two steps of the genius ladder. Students will create their own "spicy" sentence on a word document using the wireless keyboard.

Posted by Deanna Schuler on Friday, Jun 8th, 2012.


Another amazing class day. I am glad to see that I am not the only one who is so excited about Study Stacks. I am glad so many others share their study stacks so that I had time to mention my experience with inputting a list of vocabulary words that already existed on the site. As before, Marifer shared uses of these visual resources that I plan to adapt for my classroom. I would love to take a "tour" of everyones classrooms sometime this year. We have such a valuable resource in our co-workers (not just at our own buildings) that we very seldom have the opportunity to access.

Today everyone received their iPads... even though I already have mine... I was still excited! I had not synched my iPad recently and enjoyed learning about some neat tips for manipulating the apps to make my iPad more user friendly.  I know how many times I have used the iPad and after getting to know my classmates I know they will also take this tool to great heights. What an unexpected surprise to receive a gift card for apps! My mind just started RACING at the thought of having more money to spend on apps.

CHECK THIS OUT: I found a teacher's Wallwisher that I thought was really neat. He posted a vocabulary word and asked the students to use it in a sentence. He was then able to post a note next to the students note to give them feedback!

Assignment due Today: Interactive Visual Resources

My Interactive Visual Resources Page

This assignment of gathering interactive visual resources was so much fun. I quickly realized how many visual resources could be interactive with the use of a wireless keyboard or SMART board. I decided to keep in mind that we were sharing these resources at a "faculty meeting" so I wanted the resources to be something teachers could use with or without the devices mentioned above.

My first interactive visual resource listed is actually the last I thought about. I had already intended pointing out the Wall Wisher collection I had compiled. During my presentation, I forgot to share that I think using Wall Wisher on a regular basis in the classroom would be beneficial. This would not only be a great way to ask students to contribute to class discussion but to talk about online posting etiquette. In my experience, many students believe that if you are responding on line, texting shorthand is either required or always considered okay. What a great opportunity to show students that editing writing isn't always for formal work. Remembering to quick edit a post makes for easier reading and understanding of posts.

The Study Stacks site is amazing. I have mentioned in a previous blog post that I am amazed at all the games/resources made available after entering just ONE word list. This reminds me of using one of my favorite teacher resource web pages ( I have used this site many times to create many different worksheets with my spelling lists. Study Stacks takes this idea further by creating interactive games / study tools for students. I mainly see this as something students will use on an individual basis. However, I can see using it for the little 5 minute or less time spaces when you need a quick review. I look forward to making a resource page (like my MLK page) for Study Stacks that apply to my third grade curriculum.

Power Point games are such a wonderful endless resource. My genre game "What Am I?"  was not only easy but fun to make. I can't help but wonder if my students would enjoy making their own review games. I really think using the Genre game I created as a pre/post assessment tool would make it very valuable.

My Placespotting activity took little more thought than I originally believed that it would. I wanted originally to use Sterling Elementary as my place… however Sterling is VERY clearly labeled so the activity would be pretty easy. The place I used (Spirit Gate at Whiteman Air Force Base) is visited by enough local students to be fairly recognizable. I would use Placespotting as a way for my students to get used to manipulating online maps and using common language to give directions.

I really enjoyed making the MyPlaces clue hunt. I plan to make several more. I think this is a great way to teach students the location of surrounding cities and states in comparison to Warrensburg. Many students don't go far from Warrensburg and thus have no idea of where places are geographically in relationship to their home. Geographical skills are even a challenge for many adults.

Posted by Deanna Schuler on Wednesday, Jun 6th, 2012.


Today was another great day of presentations. I can't believe that I can get such great ideas from such a diverse group of educators. Five minutes for each person just didn't seem like enough! So many times today I wanted to hear more about the resources being shared. When things slow down (ha ha ha) I look forward to looking back at the different collections of visual resources that our mighty group has created. I enjoyed seeing how most of the secondary teachers organized their resources on their website! I look forward to searching for more videos by Mrs. Burk on Teacher Tube thanks to Lee's resources.

WIRELESS KEYBOARDS! I was so excited to get this tool! If I don't use this took everyday next school year I will be surprised! What a great way to increase student engagement! I am already looking forward to seeing the lessons that our classmates come up with! I haven't been in a graduate class that provided so much immediately usuable information! Well worth the time and money!

Assignment Due Today: Visual Resources for the MWVL conference

I am really proud of my Martin Luther King, Jr. Resource Page. I have always loved finding a website that was a one-stop shop for everything I needed on a topic. I think my resource page will be that for elementary teachers looking for age appropriate MLK, Jr. resources.

I plan to use these resources as I prepare my students for a Problem/Project-Based Lesson on Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the Missouri SS GLE's states "Describe the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr." I also hope that other teachers will be able to use these resources to help guide their instruction. 

My resource page is currently a collection of Visual Resources, however I hope to expand this page to also include links to lesson plan ideas.

Below is an outline of how I will use the resources on this page with my students:

Photo Collection:

  • I will use the image gallery to introduce the students to MLK. When I introduce or we discuss different events surrounding MLK I can use the pictures to give the students something to connect to. 
  • I can also let the students use the gallery for an projects (posters, powerpoints,...). This collection is age appropriate and free to use. 

Video Collection:

  • The video of the "I Have a Dream" Speech I will use to let the kids experience the REAL Martin Luther King. They can hear his voice and see him speak. This is a great primary resource.
  • The second video is a Biography made by a teacher that I will use to introduce our studies/project for MLK, Jr. This video is a very third grader friend version.
  • The third video shows Miss Lori (a internet host) talking about the MLK, Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C. I would use as part of our virtual field trip to the memorial.
  • I have linked the Brain Pop video for MLK to use as an additional resource. Perhaps when I need something for a substitute. I could have the students write Tim and Moby (the characters of Brain Pop) and ask them more questions.
  • The video of the book Martin's Big Word's would be a great way for the students to hear and see another book about Martin.

My Places Map

  • I will use this as a visual during discussions and lessons. I will also encourage the kids to help me add more places to the map as we learn more.

Virtual Tours

  • Birth home tour: I would show the students parts of this tour as they came up in discussions and also encourage them to explore the tour on their own to gain more information.
  • MLK Memorial Tour Video: I will use this in our virtual field trip to the memorial.

 MLK, Jr. Resource Page
Posted by Deanna Schuler on Tuesday, Jun 5th, 2012.


Another amazing day! I was so impressed with all the various PBL's that were created in our group. I found myself disappointed when each person had to stop talking. I want to be a student in their classes next year (even the Science courses... that is pretty remarkable for me to say). I really think I was able to pull something from each of their presentations. I can't help but think of Marifer's PBL. I love that she used her personal experience to teach! I have always been a big supporter of letting your kids know that you are a "real" person too!  

I just can't help but be amazed at the resources that are available for educators. We don't even have to look very far... so many of them are linked on the Essential Web Resources page for our district! I was already amazed with the MyPlaces tool on google. I am excited that different content (like videos) can be embedded into the pins. I am going to make a scavenger hunt using MyPlaces. I am going to have the student start at Sterling Elementary and discover places in Missouri (and some in our country and on our continent) This would be a great review of common language on a map! I am really interested in exploring the various Power Point Game Show Simulations. I used Jeopardy a lot with my fifth graders. Study Stacks: .... yep I am a bit speechless about this! I can't believe you can type in a specific content collection and have SO many different products!


No More 4 Square?

Anyone who is familiar with elementary school knows that four square is a BIG deal. So many office referrals have to do with disputes from 4 square.

My PBL focuses on the students coming up with their own solutions to these problems. I would have have Ms. Reynolds or Coach Hinnah introduce the problem to our class. They could say four square is quickly becoming a problem at Sterling. If solutions are not found soon we may have to BAN FOUR SQUARE AT STERLING! BIG GASP! Students will investigate this problem and create movies/podcasts and posters to share their results.

This activity address SS GLE's for:

  • Principles and Processes of Governance Systems 2A3 : Analyze peaceful resolution of disputes by courts or other legitimate authorities, such as parents, teachers, principals, etc. 
  • Relationships of Individuals and Groups to Institutions and Traditions 6A3: Take part in a constructive process or method for resolving conflicts.
  • Tools of Social Science Inquiry 7A Knowledge of the use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps and documents)

This activity addresses College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards in Reading and Writing.The most obvious CCSS that this (or any PBL) relates to is Standard SL3.1. (Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Posted by Deanna Schuler on Tuesday, Jun 5th, 2012.


Integrating Visual Resources

I can't believe all the resources we were introduced to (or reminded of) today! Images and Videos  and Maps OH MY! Primary documents, Virtual tours, classroom utilities, ANYTHING (thanks to document cameras). .. For every visual resource we talked about my mind started racing to find ways to bring it to my classroom. For example: I can't stop thinking about using Google's My Places to extend my Cinderella Around the World Map in my classroom to Reading Around the World… why not include all stories and articles we read?

We didn't leave PBL behind. Our "Problem" was introduced as the Midwest Visual Learning Conference (First Annual of course). We are going to present 10 Visual Resources related to a lesson or unit to our fellow conference goers. This is such great practice… I LOVE teaching my students but I tend to get VERY nervous presenting to adults. My initial idea was to gather resources for a United States Region Unit. That seemed a little big. So I was reminded of a virtual tour I once found of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birth Home. Third Graders are supposed to be able to describe the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. I think students would be more likely to be involved in learning about MLK if they had a reason to. Every year, UCM and our Community do a great job of celebrating MLK's contributions. I think my kids could somehow contribute to this event!  

I am going to challenge myself to use Visual Resources more often. I have no excuse…I have a projector, a SMART board, one on one iPads and a BIG back pocket full of Visual Resources. GAME ON!

ASSIGNMENT DUE TODAY - none today! :)

Posted by Deanna Schuler on Monday, Jun 4th, 2012.


Problem-Based Learning... what a powerful tool. I have seen many examples of Problem/Project-Based Learning. I have tried a couple but have only felt successful with PBL once. Believe it or not that success was during my student teaching before I even knew about PBL. Hearing about PBL today brought back the memories of that lesson. We were studying Exploration. I told the students I was the owner of a print shop and they were my apprentices. Several captains had come to me asking for help wanted posters for their voyages. I gave them the requirements and let them go. They really performed! The excitement level in the classroom was out of this world. My joy at evaluating their products was contagious... my husband (then boyfriend) even enjoyed the projects.I think I got too curriculum driven after that point.

During this past school year,  I worked hard to learn the third grade curriculum and again got lost. The last month of school I have been re-energized with thoughts of how to return the teaching/learning to the students. Between my Whole Brain Teaching training, this technology class paired with PBL I see my students being more engaged... more successful.

I believe I have a better understanding of Problem/Project-Based Learning. Working PBL into many lessons throughout the year is a challenge I look forward to.  Questions still float around my brain. How often should I use PBL? Should I have one once a month, one for every unit Social Studies, Science, and Math Lesson? How many PBL opportunities will present themselves when I least expect them? I look forward to learning with my students.


No assignment due today!